This year will be our first Christmas in London as ex-pats and we’re so excited to enjoy all the holiday activities! There are plenty of amazing events and activities, but nonstop shows and food can get pricey. (Here are some of the London Christmas activities we have planned.) The good news is that there are tons of FREE things to do in London at Christmas.
Here are some of the free London Christmas activities I’d recommend adding to any Christmas in London itinerary!
Christmas in London Weather
Winter in London can get chilly with temperatures between the 20s-40s Fahrenheit (0s-low teens Celcius) both day and night . Be sure to dress in layers and be prepared for rain.
These are my very favorite WINTER TRAVEL SHOES, that are also my everyday shoes for many months of the year living here in London. They’re sturdy, pretty waterproof, great for cities or moderate trails, can dress up or down, and are super comfy for miles and miles of walking. They’re the only shoes I took on a recent winter trip!
I also love THIS PARKA – it’s super warm and waterproof, so it’s great for the chill and wet weather. I love that it has zipper pockets, too – great for putting my phone in when walking around a city or while traveling – and that it goes down to my knees to keep me warmer. I also have and love this long lightweight insulated coat – it’s water-resistant (not waterproof), long (extra warmth), and warm (though not as warm as the other one). The best part is that it packs down SUPER small – perfect for travel.
FREE Things To Do in London At Christmas
Here are some of our favorite FREE London Christmas activities!
Best London Christmas Markets
London has no shortage of Christmas markets and they are among the top London Christmas events. Here are some of the markets to put on your Christmas in London itinerary:
- Covent Garden Christmas Markets (there are 3 markets here)
- Leicester Square Christmas Market
- Trafalgar Square Christmas Market (with a big tree!)
- Winter Wonderland Christmas Market at Hyde Park (there’s a giant carnival-type thing here)
- Borough Market
- Southbank Centre Winter Market
- King’s Cross Christmas Market
Free London Christmas Light Trails
Like so many others, one of our favorite things to do during the holidays is look at Christmas lights. These are for sure some of the best things to do in London in winter. Here are some of the places we’ll be visiting for free light shows in London:
- Luminaze – a light-based interactive maze!
- Sparkle in the Park – a festive Christmas light trail in Greenwich
- Ever After Garden in Grosvenor Square (raises donations for charity)
London Christmas Store Displays & London Hotel Christmas Decorations: London Christmas Window Displays
SO many stores in London set up festive displays inside and out during November and December. There are also lots of hotels that put up gorgeous displays, as well. Walking to see them is such a beautiful winter activity in London! Here are some great spots for London Christmas window displays:
- Fortnum & Mason
- Harrods Department Store
- Hamley’s Toy Store
- Claridge’s Hotel
- The Grosvenor
- Harvey Nichols
- The Goring
Visit Beautiful Christmas Trees in London
Many hotels and shops have Christmas tree displays open to the public. Here are some favorite local spots for viewing festive tree displays.
- Trafalgar Square tree
- Covent Garden Tree
- Leadenhall Market
- the Ritz (pop in the side door to see the giant tree)
London Christmas Street Displays
The city of London goes all out with Christmas decorations and it’s so fun to see them spanning the streets. While not totally free, one really fun way to see the light displays is to hop aboard a double decker bus. If you’re wondering which London bus to ride to see Christmas lights, hopping on the 139 near Selfridge’s is a great bet! Here’s more info on seeing London Christmas lights by bus.
Here are some of the best London Christmas streets:
- Oxford Street
- Regent Street
- Carnaby Street
- Old Bond Street
- St. Christopher’s Place
Listen to Festive Music in London
London has a mind-boggling number of Christmas concerts and carols and sing alongs. Here are some amazing ones that are also very friendly on the wallet because they’re totally free! These also make really great winter date ideas in London.
- St. Paul’s Cathedral hosts free caroling shows in December
- Carols by Candlelight at St. Mark Coptic Orthodox Church
- Openair Singalong at Stationer’s Park
- Britten’s Ceremony of Carols at St. Paul’s Cathedral
- A Celebration of Christmas at St. Paul’s Cathedral
- Family Carols at St. Paul’s Cathedral
- Christingle Family Carols at St. Paul’s Hammersmith
Free London Museums with Festive Displays
London has tons of free museums, and many of them get glammed up during the final months of the year. It’s been one of our favorite free things to do in london at Christmas! Here are a few great London museums to visit at Christmas for their London museum Christmas displays:
- Natural History Museum – the iconic Tyrannosaurus Rex will be dressed up in his holiday best during December
- Museum of the Home – the journey through decades shows Christmas Eve through generations
- V&A Christmas Highlights Trail
Find The Snowman Sculptures
If you’re looking for free things to do in London in December, this free art trail has 12 sculptures of The Snowman decorated by different artists to represent the 12 Days of Christmas. It’s a fun family activity in London during Christmas time!
Christmas Day Peter Pan Cup
Add this Christmas Day race for the Peter Pan Cup to your list of things to do in London in the winter.
Christmas Religious Services
There are all sorts of Christmas services in London throughout the month of December and over Christmas weekend. Here are some great ones:
- Services at Westminster Abbey
- St. Paul’s Advent Carol Service
- Hereford Cathedral Advent Services
- King’s College Advent Carols
I hope these Christmas ideas in London are helpful – hope you enjoy and please let me know what festive things to do in London you choose!
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